Beit Guvrin
Maresha National Park

The first time I went to Beit Guvrin many years ago was taking a group of mine to the “Dig for a Day” experience. I cherish this day and remember how happy my clients were.

This park is located on the slopes of the Judean Mountains in Central Israel about 15 km from Kiryat Gat. Here are the ruins of Maresha one of the towns of the times of the First Temple, and a town of the Roman era.

A view of the Archaeological site of Tel Maresha

Many Important Archaeological Sites

  • Tel Maresha

    This town was fortified by Rehoboam, Kings Solomon’s son and is the scenario of many caves making an impressive labyrinth. The caves were originally created by the Greek residents of that time to extract the stones to build their home and later became warehouses and cisterns underneath their homes.
    There also some burial caves with all kinds of murals that can be seen.
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Bell Cave is one of the largest caves in Tel Maresha

  • Bell Cave at Tel Maresha

    This is one of the largest caves called the Bell Cave, with a 60 meter high ceiling, and is easily accessible. This is one of about 800 bell shaped caves linked to one another by passages. The truth is that there are about 2,000 underground caves in Beit Guvrin. Don’t be surprised if I tell you that the large Bell Cave has served for concerts or other events due to its space and special acoustics.

    The town of Beit Guvrin replaced the older town of Maresha and had an important Jewish Population during the Roman period. It was actually the most important city of the area until, according to Josephus Flavius, it was conquered by Roman General Vespasian.
    When visiting the caves you may also see the remains of a Jewish cemetery of the era.

The Roman Amphitheater discovered on the Ruins

  • Roman Amphitheater

    This is one of many important discoveries, besides public baths, burial tombs and mosaics.  The remains of the amphitheater were discovered recently at mid 1990s. It was built on the 2nd century. Close your eyes and imagine the gladiators’ contests taking place in that site that could seat 3,500 spectators.

    It was built by Roman troops stationed at the region after the suppression of the Bar Kochba Rebellion. Built with rectangular limestone bricks it was in used until destroyed by the Galilee earthquake of the year 363

One of the animal mosaics discovered on this site

  • Byzantine Mosaics
    Byzantine Mosaics were discovered while digging in the site, depicting birds and other animals.

  • Saint Anne's church
    This church built during the Byzantine period was late restores by the Crusaders in the 12th century. It has three windows and it is well preserved.

Beit Guvrin Maresha National Park is located on Road # 35 across from the Kibbutz bearing its name at the crossroads that led from Jerusalem and the Judean Mountains to Hebron. It is located at an altitude of 820 to 1100 meters above sea level.

Visiting this National Park is an unforgettable experience. You become a “famous” archaeologist for a day, and bring home many memories.

image credits:

aerial n/a
mosaic by talmoryair
bell n/a
amphitheater n/a

all courtesy of wikimedia commons

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